Delhi High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Centre and the Election Commission of India (ECI) over the use of face masks during the ongoing election campaign.
With five phases of assembly polls in West Bengal still to go, the notice could impact campaign events planned by the Trinamool Congress, BJP, Congress and the Left.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh issued notice to the Centre and the EC and sought their response to the application by Vikram Singh, the former DGP of Uttar Pradesh and also the chairman of think tank Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC).
In the notice, the Delhi HC has sought a response from the EC and the central government over the mandatory use of face masks during campaign events.
The court listed the application for further hearing on April 30 along with Singh's main petition seeking to debar campaigners and candidates from campaigning in the assembly elections for repeatedly violating the mandatory guidelines issued by the poll panel in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Advocate Virag Gupta, appearing for Singh, told the bench that the poll body should "create awareness through digital, print and electronic media for compulsory masking and social distancing during assembly elections".
"When all the authorities are unanimous on mandatory masking, it defies logic as to why the rule should not be enforced in election campaigns," Gupta argued.
The Central government's standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia accepted notice on behalf of the Centre.
With PTI inputs